March 31, 2011
It's finally starting to happen.
The offense is looking like a real offense. Or beginning to at least. Robert Woods' return to practice earned him praise from Matt Barkley who also says he throws better knowing that Woods is there to catch it. Their unspoken communication is evident. Speaking of Barkley, a media member inquired today if it was possible for such "a gun slinger like Matt" to be able to get his interceptions into the single digits. Kiffin showed full confidence in his starting quarterback, saying he believed it was fully possible.
A quick side note on the media. It's always interesting to be in the middle of the "scrum" with Kiffin. As time has gone on he has shown more of his personality, but he's still very adament about not answering things he doesn't want to. Though most people only see the stern-faced, all-business coach during post-game press conferences, make no mistake: this head coach has a quick wit and a good sense of comedic timing.
The future of the secondary is looking brighter each day as their tackling, a very criticized area last year, continues to improve. Kiffin is pleased with the decision to start Tony Burnett opposite Nickell Robey, however there is still no clear starter at safety opposite T.J. McDonald. Marshall Jones, Jawanza Starling and Demetrius Wright are all contenders at the moment.
Saturday will mark the first scrimmage of spring ball, however the entire time will not be devoted to scrimmaging. Kiffin feels that there are too many new players this spring for the team to be fundamentally ready to scrimmage for a full two hours. With temperatures rising this week it will be intriguing to see how the players and coaches handle the long hours in the sun after working out in what was considered a cold spring by Los Angeles standards.